The Nationals certainly showed they are the better team after taking two of three against the Phillies, winning the series finale, 7-3.
But how about the two home runs from Michael Morse and four RBIs? The second home run was a mammoth shot, travelling 451 feet and landing in Tom Gorzelanny’s hat in the second level where the visitor’s bullpen is situated in Citizens Bank Park. The opposite field round tripper had the feel of “I’m back!” for Nationals fans when it comes to Morse’s power.
Opponents have been lucky to get Morse when he was nursing a wrist injury. He had hit only two homers the entire month before matching that total with two in the same game Thursday. Manager Davey Johnson said after the game on “Nat’s Xtra” that he had witnessed Morse hitting very well in batting practice two days ago so that gave him the confidence that his home run hitter could return to form.
Boy, did he ever.
It is just one game, but after what felt like a dozen double play grounders, Morse hitting the ball like he did Thursday is a very positive sign as the Nationals close in on their first ever division title.
It was also nice to see Johnson put Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen in the game in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, even in a game the Nats led by four runs. This was especially true for Clippard, who had allowed at least one run in four straight games.
Clippard’s one-two-three eighth inning, including two strikeouts, had to be big for his confidence. This also had to make Johnson feel good because the Nationals will certainly need Clippard to return to the form that earned him 32 saves if the team is going to have a consistent bullpen in the postseason. He won’t necessarily need or have to close games, but he will need to be effective. Thursday was one small step to indicate he certainly can do it again.